Happy New Year … Not!
With the New Year comes a new class of malicious attack that can impact IT systems. This time, the attack is hardware based, affecting mostly Intel based systems, and to some extent, AMD systems as well.
Here is a list of resources that highlight what it is all about and how to mitigate against this new threat. In the words of Microsoft, “Don’t panic.”
Today, MIcrosoft announced the availability of a single update rollup package for Windows 7 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 R2. Some details for the rollup are as follows:
- All security and non-security fixes since the release up to April 2016.
- One installation package.
- Optional install – not offered via Windows Update.
- Monthly rollups after April 2016.
- Security bulletins will continue to link to a direct update.
- For Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, and WIndows Server 2012 R2, there will be monthly rollup updates.
Thanks, Microsoft, for listening!
To get the rollups, you need Internet Explorer 6 or higher (not Edge – since this is not an update package for Windows 10). Get the updates here – http://catalog.update.microsoft.com/v7/site/Search.aspx?q=3125574
At this stage, other browsers are not supported, although Microsoft have hinted that the site will be updated in the next few months.
The Essentials Server team have just published a blog post which gives you an at-a-glance look at what features are supported and not supported with the six current (and recently past) SBS and Essentials SKUs.
Read the blog post here – http://blogs.technet.com/b/sbs/archive/2015/07/23/client-connector-availability-with-windows-home-server-small-business-server-and-windows-server-essentials-for-supported-client-os.aspx
If you have DVD media or and ISO of your Operating System, you can quickly and easily create a sysprepped VHD or VHDX image. With this Virtual Hard Disk file, you can set up a Virtual Machine and boot it directly to the Out of Box Experience, thus saving about half an hour to an hour of installation time.
The process for doing this and PowerShell script called Convert-WindowsImage.ps1 is documented in the Technet Script Repository here – http://gallery.technet.microsoft.com/scriptcenter/Convert-WindowsImageps1-0fe23a8f
Note: This latest release (v6.3) now supports the creation on Generation 2 VMs.
Every few months, this situation comes up somewhere amongst the plethora of Windows 7 workstations that are managed by my helpdesk. The standard fix is normally to remove the workstation from the domain, and rejoin it again.
I came across a blog post here – http://www.implbits.com/about/blog/tabid/78/post/don-t-rejoin-to-fix-the-trust-relationship-between-this-workstation-and-the-primary-domain-failed/default.aspx – which suggested that this problem was caused by a machine password being corrupted or lost.
A suggested fix for this was to use NETDOM.EXE to reset the machine password. You will need to install the Remote Server Administration Tools from http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=153874. Once it has been installed, turn the following feature on (from the Turn Windows features on or off applet in the control panel. (you might find some other useful server administrative tools there too!)
From an administrative command prompt, type the following command.
NETDOM resetpwd /s:[domain controller] /ud:[domain admin] /pd:*
[domain controller] = a domain controller in the joined domain
[domain admin] = a domain administrator with administrative rights to the machine
You will be prompted to enter in the password for the domain admin account specified.
Once the command is completed, restart the computer to log in.
NOTE: I did notice that some other settings on the workstation appeared to be corrupted or reset after the reboot. One of these itemms was the Outlook profile, which had to be reset and resynchronized.
One of the recent issues in managing Windows Server 2012 is the way Automatic Updates works by default. If automatic updates are installed on a server, it may or may not automatically reboot the server or PC.
At the log in screen, you may see this message.
Upon logging in, you may be faced with the prospect of the server rebooting in 15 minutes. The countdown timer has started and there is no apparent way to click on a “Postpone” button.
In many cases, this will cause some distress. Particularly if this is a Hyper-V host server, and you have an entire network of 120 users accessing the virtual machines!
Fortunately, there is a fix to prevent the server from counting down and restarting.
- Open an administrative command prompt.
- Type NET STOP WUAUSERV
to stop the Windows Update service.
This will stop the Windows Update service, and stop the countdown timer until the server is restarted manually. Don’t forget to restart the server at the next possible opportunity.
A new document has been released providing a quick overview of the HyperV technology that is built into Windows 8. This is similar to the Windows 7 functionality, which was called XP Mode.
The document is a basic overview of HyperV in Windows 8, how it could be used, that requirements are needed, and how to enable the feature. It also provides a nice lot of links to more information on Tools, and some PowerShell Cmdlets, and also discusses RemoteFX functionality.
The document can be downloaded here – http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36188
In case you have not heard, Windows 8 has been released on MSDN and Technet. Volume License users will be able to download and deploy Windows 8 today. Expect a bunch of OEM vendors to release their offerings in the coming few weeks.
For all the information on Windows 8 feature set, visit the Release Preview site here – http://windows.microsoft.com/en-AU/windows-8/release-preview. Or download the product guide here – http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=251529
I have been using this OS for the past few months and it is a solid product. My wish is that third party vendors will get on the bandwagon and upgrade their applications sooner than later. For those using Windows XP, this is the time to update your 10 year old operating system.
Expect Windows Server 2012 to be released on MSDN and Technet in the next few days.
Windows 8 was released today on MSDN and Technet. It will soon be released publically. With that comes the many GBs of downloads for the ISOs. Many may have newer Ultrabooks, which do not feature DVD drives anymore. Rather than burning the ISO to a DVD disc, why not put it on a bootable USB stick? There are many ways to do this, and I have found that the best way to do this is to use a command tool called DISKPART. The commands are fairly easy.
- Open an elevated Command Prompt and type DISKPART. You will open up the Diskpart tool, as evidenced by the DISKPART> prompt.
- DISKPART>LIST DISK <- This will give you a listing of the disks on your system. It is very important to identify the USB disk, as you really do not want to format your system drive.
- DISKPART>SELECT DISK n <- this will make select the USB disk n, as identified in step 2
- DISKPART>CLEAN <- This effectively does a quick format/wipe of the USB disk
- DISKPART>CREATE PARTITION PRIMARY <- This will create a primary partition on the disk
- DISKPART>SELECT PARTITION 1 <- Since there is only one partition, this will select it.
- DISKPART>ACTIVE <- This makes the partition active
- DISKPART>FORMAT FS=FAT32 <- This formats the disk and sets it up as a FAT32 formatted drive. This will take a while to complete
- DISKPART>ASSIGN <- This assigns the next drive letter to the drive
- DISKPART>EXIT <- To exit the utility
Once the USB drive has been prepared, you can now use a utility like 7-Zip to extract the ISO directly to the drive.
BTW. This process will also work when creating bootable USB disks of other Windows ISOs – Windows Server 2012, Windows Small Business Server 2011, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, and even Vista.
I have been seeing quite a number of systems coming up with this error message when attempting to install the Client Connector Software for SBS 2011 Essentials.
“Error: Cannot connect the computer to the server because either another software installation is in progress, or, the computer has a restart pending. Either complete the installation process, or, restart the computer and try to connect again.”
The first thing to do is obvious – Reboot the computer. But then again, there would not be anything to blog if it were that easy. Obviously, that has been attempted and the error remains. Apparently, this is often caused by programs not cleaning up their installation settings.
The fix is fairly simple, if you can remember where the registry setting is.
Open up Regedit and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager. Rename the key named PendingFileRenameOperation to something else.
That should resolve the issue.